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SYNAULIA: Sounds, Music and Dances
of Ancient Rome and the Antiquity

L'angolo dello SCACCIAPENSIERI (italian)

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Nathalie van Ravenstein
08/03/1972 - 09/06/2009 

Artist, researcher, plurinstrumentist, composer, dancer, choreographer.

Instruments: tympanum, cymbalum, crotala,crepundia, tintinnabula, sambuca, cithara, percussions and prehistoric wind instruments, bucina, obliqum flute, voice, recitation: with movement-dance.
Languages: Spanish, Dutch, Italian, English, 1/2 German.

She realizes comparative and interdisciplinary studies centered on the role of the feminine in the Art, in the prehistory and in the antiquity, among which the employment of the musical instruments of the female cults and those employed also in the dance; tympanum, cymbalum and castanets, their different typologies and functions, diffusion and use, also contemporary, researches woven with an experimentation and practical application.

Of Basque-Dutch origin (1972) she has lived up to the 15 years in Madrid, where she is dedicated with passion to the drawing, the singing, the dance and the theatre, that accompany for so to say, tightly the studies.
1987 She move to Holland where she has studied Fashion-design and Art-illustration.
1995 Enter to belong to the group of experimental archaeology of Walter Maioli, teacher-initiator of the prehistory and of the sound, and Luce Maioli, working in the archaeological park Archeon as musician-actress, participating in the realization of the CD "200.000 Jaar Muziek", to the laboratories for children and the concerts, daily putting into practice the researches on the instruments, the sounds, the voice, the music, the movements and the dance in the prehistory and in the ancient Rome, among which the comparative study and the analysis of the iconographic sources.
Together with Walter Maioli and Luce Maioli has set up the project SYNAULIA.
1996 records the CD SYNAULIA "Music of ancient Rome" volume 1, devoted to the wind and percussion instruments and develops an intense activity of researches and hundreds of international concerts.
Participates in the film "Meandre Magic" of the French Tv at Arcy sure Cure.
She's fairy-musician and dancer with own choreographies in the Film "A Midnight Summers Dream" by Michael Hoffman, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline. Like this, she works in the television series "Empire", "Rome" and numerous scientific documentaries as "Carvillius, the mummy of Rome".
Participates in the recording of the CD of Sainkho "Naked Spirit".
Realizes researches in Spain on the prehistoric and ancient Iberian instruments and dances.
1999 – 2006 Works with the great actor Giorgio Albertazzi in the performances "Eros I want to sing", "Around Dante" and in "Mami, Pappi and Sirens in Great Greece”, shooted at the Theatre in Pompeii for "History of the Italian Theatre" of Albertazzi and Fo transmitted by RAI 2, composing for this occasion a musical passage with Luisa Corna and Giorgio.
Two compositions of hers, Pavor and Etruria, composed together with Walter Maioli, they have been chosen for the film "The Gladiator" of Ridley Scott.
It is between the founders and conductors of The Soundcenter, Il Centro del Suono.


Nathalie van Ravenstein

This page is dedicated to Nathalie
everyone of your can write something, a memory, a poem, even a simple thought,
please send an email to:

a Nathalie

When you live you shine,
do not obscure everything,
life is brief
the time consumes

Nathalie in the sky!


Dulcis amica vale


A seed in the universe

A seed from which everything in the universe is born
Courage gives me a seed to confront that which I have always escape from
A seed in order to believe that man is not wrong
A seed to remember the importance of the past
A seed because you can live again in creation
A seed to give respect to this land that created us
A seed because the human being knows from where it came and what it is destined to do. 
A seed that leaves us connected to ourselves and to the universe
This seed is you.




I know a sad fairy
that lives in an ocean
and always in a sweet way
lets her heart sing through a magic flute
that dies with a kiss each night
And is reborn with a kiss at every dawn...
(Forugh Farrokhzad)  
dedicated to nathalie


To know Nathalie is to feel oneself in the presence of a higher Being.  
There are words to describe the qualities she exudes: generosity, selflessness, compassion, passion, humility, simplicity, love, courage, grace, femininity, endurance, and spiritual guidance but they do not suffice.  This is a person who felt more than most, who felt for the sake of others, a person who gave you her very shoes if you happened to mention you liked them.   This for her was normal.  She could be penniless, possession-less and without any clothing and she would still be happy, thanking the Earth for giving her life and the ability to help others.   She is a person complete in the fullest sense.  She is full.  She exists in a full state beyond material objects, beyond judgment, beyond religion and beyond the routine current that guides the day. 
I believe she achieved a state of eternity long ago and made it her quest not to free herself but to free others.  To make everyone feel at home in every moment.   Eman Shokry who arrived at the Foundation just a week ago said Nathalie “embarrassed me with her kindness.”  Embarrassed me with her kindness.  These are the words of someone who knew Nathalie for just one week and who wept at the loss of ‘a bird.’
If you sat in Nathalie’s company, you’d be opened up to learn things that institution or religion can never teach, feelings she had were what most people die with having never known or felt.
I could have written this long ago as these words aren’t gained by death but by life.  This is someone who lived in search of god within everybody.    One of my favorite phrases from the Sufi poet, Rumi is “Listen to everybody as if his words were the last words of a dying father to his son.” If we all lived this way, with such compassion in daily life, we would inhabit Nathalie’s world.  Can we try for her,  altogether, to listen to one another, with patient open ears, allowing our neighbor to teach us something everyday?
She chose eternal happiness, preferring to be everybody’s rock and never asking for one in return to lean upon.  When she was suffering, she chose to smile and ask about you then to burden you with the dark feelings that were haunting her.  Often times, I abused this.  I knew Nathalie would always be there with her crystalline blue eyes and infinite smile to give me strength to move on with the day.  Perhaps I too just took and did not give enough.
It is my request of all of you to choose just one quality that you learned from Nathalie and emulate it. 
Lets look into each other’s eyes more deeply.
Lets look into each other’s hearts more often, and try to understand.
Lets laugh and love life. 
Lets sing and dance more often.
Lets continue to cultivate ourselves and in doing so cultivate others.
Certainly for those closest to her, this is hard-impossible maybe- to do at first.  But we must think that in death, nothing changes.  We don’t have to understand her death, getting hung up on facts.  We must meditate on her life.  The absence of Nathalie is the same as the presence of Nathalie- because she existed as an essence long before she existed as a physical body.  She now continues to live as an inspiration in death as she was in life. 
A bird that could never be caught, studied, and understood continues to fly.


For Nathalie
who loved our city and its people
goodbye angel, you are close to God

My city in flowers

Between the sea and flowers, you are born,
land of my heart
that will always keep inside of you, your marvelous beauty,
kissed by the beautiful sun
at your feet the mountain, reflected in the sea
is a splendor.
This mountain divides in two
a sit would this heart of mine.
Up there the mountain teeming forth with springs and love
leaving to the land their freshness.
A woman has cupped her hands
with this gesture, a formo of prayer,
takes a drink of water
placing it to her mouth
to reinfresh the soul and heart.
A farmer clears the land,
he has in his face signs of the sun,
while he feels in the air a smell:
it is bread cooking in great heat,
this perfume takes over all the streets,
it brings a great harmony to your heart.
Blackened faces from the sun,
make you understand how much value;
if  you see the hands of these people,
consumd by the sun and by the land,
you will remain delighted.
These people are good like the bread,
when you have tasted,
you will not forget it tomorrow.
You true sincere friend 

Biondi Luigi